National Institute for Subatomic Physics

Frequently Asked Questions with Answers!

Where does the name Nikhef come from?
The National Institute for Subatomic Physics, Nikhef, has a long history. The name comes from its former name, the National Institute for Nuclear Physics and High-Energy Physics. In 1998, following the closure of Nikhef's own electron accelerators MEA and AmPS, the nuclear physics research stopped and that is why Nikhef now uses the name National Institute for Subatomic Physics. 

What does LHC stand for?

  • LHC stands for Large Hadron Collider
  • 'Large' refers to LHC's size: it has a circumference of about 27 km.
  • Hadron refers to the protons (hydrogen nuclei) the LHC accelerates Protons consist of quarks; hadron is the umbrella term for all particles built up from quarks
  • 'Collider' refers to the proton beams circulating in opposite directions that collide with each other at four locations. 

How many collision take place in the LHC per second?
At peak intensity about 600 million at each of the four interaction points. 

What experiments are carried out at the LHC?

How much did the LHC cost?
About € 6,000,000,000 (6 billion euro) 

Is the LHC safe?
Yes, read the CERN brochure.

Under Downloads you can find various brochures with answers to even more questions and you can always pose a question yourself.